MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – City Council, City Clerk Christine Wade and her staff gathered on Monday morning at the Municipal Building for vote canvassing.

Canvassing refers to the process of aggregating or confirming all 1,519 ballots cast and counted in the 2021 Morgantown Municipal Election. It is a critical step in certifying the election results, so the city spent a little over two hours going through voter rolls and provisional and absentee ballots.

Wade (right) and staff sorting through documents

“It takes a combined effort from everyone, so we are grateful,” Wade, the city clerk said. “You know, our code says that we must have a quorum of council, so five out of our seven were able to be here today and we’re just very grateful for them to be here and participate and ensure that our election runs correctly — very appreciative.”

All in all, there were six provisional ballots cast, the city only accepted one. The others were not residents of the city, some were not even registered to vote in Morgantown, nor the state.

There were two absentee ballots cast, one was accepted and the other denied because it was missing a signature.

Voter turnout was low, at 7.89%, but Wade said her office is always working to improve that number.

This year, for example, she said, her office worked to promote the election via the media, social media and other creative means.

Members of council converse about provisional ballots

“We’ll continue to do that, try to reach out to folks who we didn’t reach out to, who we didn’t touch this election,” Wade said.

Despite low voter turnout, Wade and her staff still worked hard to certify the election. She said canvassing, on Monday, went well.

“Everything went well, we had a good number of folks checking and double checking the counts as they were read from the precinct that was selected,” Wade said.

Now, for the election to be fully certified, a 48 hour period must be given to voters and/or candidates to request a recount of ballots.

The city clerk said the city has every intention of respecting that rule.

“Folks can request a recount,” she said. “Today, the quorum of council voted that a recount would be — there would be a fee for that, and that’s set in our code also. So, once we end that 48 hours, then we can certify the election.”

Morgantown vote canvassing, Monday, May 3, 2021

Canvassing adjourned on Monday afternoon, so the 48 hour period runs out on Wednesday, May 5.

In the meantime, Wade said she would like to reiterate her gratitude for everyone who worked on the elections and also those who worked to certify the results.

“Thanks again to our staff who worked so very hard, Wade said. “You know the election was over at 7:30 on election night and we were here until 11 and we had a number of staff who were here lugging and moving the voting machines and counting. And we’re just very grateful. It’s a combined effort from everyone.”